Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle Paperback – Aug 24 2010
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"Remarkable, bracing and highly moral, Empire of Illusion is Hedges' lament for his nation."
"Each chapter of Empire of Illusion makes a strong case for how different illusions — of literacy, love, wisdom, happiness — taken together are destroying the American mind, culture and the nation itself."
— National Post
"Each chapter torches one of our cultural illusions."
— The Globe and Mail
"Hedges is a fan of big ideas, and in Empire of Illusion, he draws upon the culture of professional wrestling and pornography, the elite university, positive psychology and the financial crisis to fashion a social theory of everything."
— Winnipeg Free Press
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Chris Hedges, the author of the bestselling War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University, and writes for many publications including Foreign Affairs, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, Granta and Mother Jones. He is also a columnist for Truthdig.com.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first four sections are much stronger than the final. The themes are clear, the examples interesting, and his case coherent. Hedges does a good job in helping the reader understand the human costs of creating illusions. He laments the decline of critical thinking and the rise of what he terms as "pseudo-events." The numerous quotations had me flipping to the bibliography and making notes for further reading.
I found that the book stalled in the last chapter, which was largely a diatribe against corporate America. Hedges seems to lose his flow and theme. While as thought provoking as the earlier chapters, it rambled and ended weakly.
I would recommend reading the book. It asks you to reflect on difference between images and ideals.
The final essay, The Illusion of America, must fall flat by necessity because his hope lies in a simple choice: love over commodity, the dialectic that has dominated great minds of all disciplines throughout civilization. Why make a simple, universal value more complex than it is? to cater to our contemporary craving for a stunning climax, even in non-fiction? The first essay holds possible keys to this disappointment; WWE fans aren't the only victims of commodified entertainment. We all are. It's the air we breathe.
The ideas in this book are far-reaching and immediately useful. They cry out for action, which every reader is able to employ. Democracy is a tool that we must teach ourselves to use, and this book is part of my personal toolkit.
While many reviewers have difficulties with the final three pages, I feel that mountains are being made of mole hills. The author, I feel, has a natural compulsion to end his text with a bit of hope, as trite as it may be. The author did that to the best of his ability.
Most recent customer reviews
Would recommend this book be required reading for all high schools and all voters. Certainly documents our substitution of greed for religion.Published 4 months ago by Lorraine Kupsch
A painful assesment of where we are, and where we are likely to end up. He must have a strong constitution to handle this.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Well-written, but loses its focus quickly. Chris issues an all out war on the media, male chauvinism, and everything in between. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Rizzio
Chris Hedges is an author that is a must read if you want to get a handle on where the world is goingPublished on May 2 2013 by Gordon J. Ross
Chris Hedges does not get much airtime in our main stream media but consider him in the same league as Noam Chomsky. Read morePublished on April 7 2013 by Larry Fritz